This unusual name is of early medieval German origin, and has two possible interpretations. Firstly, it may be a metonymic occupational surname for a maker of files, rasps, derived from the Middle High German "Raspel", rasp. Job-descriptive names originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. The second possible meaning of the name is derived from the Old High German "raspon", Middle High German "raspen", to scrape together, which was used as a nickname for someone thought to be miserly or avaricious; Raspel is a diminutive form of the surname from this source. In London, the marriage of William Raspell and Elizabeth Lewis was recorded at St. Gregory's by St. Paul, on December 7th 1637, and in Germany, Johannes, son of Henry and Anna Raspel, was christened at Mintard, Rhineland, on February 27th 1787. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Herbort Raspe, which was dated 1272, baptized in Worms, Rhineland, Germany, during the reign of Rivals to the throne of the Holy Roman Empire: Richard of Cornwall (1252 - 1272) and Alfonso X of Castile (1257 - 1273). Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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